'Cats Snap Sunflower Showdown Streak
'Cats Snap Sunflower Showdown Streak
MANHATTAN, Kan. - A K-State senior class that had never defeated rival Kansas finally got a win in the Sunflower Showdown on Saturday, as the Wildcats bested the Jayhawks, 17-10. The win is the first for K-State (6-4, 4-2 Big 12) over Kansas since 2005, when head coach Bill Snyder and the Wildcats claimed a 12-3 victory. With the win Snyder has now won nine straight games against Kansas (5-4, 1-4) at home.
The win puts the Wildcats in the driver's seat for the Big 12 North title with Missouri and Nebraska left on the regular season schedule.
K-State used its running game to eat clock and churn out long drives against the Jayhawks to hand them their fourth straight loss. The Wildcats gained 266 yards on the ground, most of them on the shoulders of junior running back Daniel Thomas, who ran for a career-high 185 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown. With his performance, Thomas cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the season to rank eighth all-time in K-State history with 1,087 yards.
Thomas was not alone in putting up a big performance for the Wildcats. Emmanuel Lamur tallied his third interception of the season in the first quarter and a fumble recovery in the second quarter. Daniel Calvin and Jeffrey Fitzgerald applied pressure to Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing all day and Calvin tallied two tackles - both for loss - a sack and pass breakup in the red zone. Fitzgerald had two tackles, forced a fumble and had a pass breakup.
The Wildcats forced three turnovers on the day as the Jayhawks struggled to produce any offense on the ground. Kansas amassed just 60 yards rushing relying on the arm of Reesing to get the offense moving downfield. Reesing totaled 241 yards passing with one touchdown and an interception on the day and had two fumbles on scrambles after being flushed out of the pocket by K-State's pass rush.
On the opening possession for the Jayhawks, Kansas moved the ball quickly and efficiently inside the 10-yard line threatening to put a touchdown on the board. K-State's defense would find its resolve once Kansas entered the red zone, however, and forced the Jayhawks to attempt a field goal, which Jason Branstetter missed.
The K-State defense came up with another big play with the Jayhawks driving after converting on fourth down. Emmanuel Lamur came across the middle to pick off a Reesing pass at the six-yard line and return the ball 31 yards. A personal foul after the play by Kansas moved the ball across midfield for the Wildcats with just under four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Josh Cherry put the Wildcats on the board first with a career-long 47-yard field goal with 11:12 remaining in the first half. The field goal came after a K-State drive stalled after the Wildcats' first third down conversion earlier.
Kansas would answer with a 17-yard strike to Dezmon Briscoe from Reesing to pull ahead 7-3 with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half. The Jayhawks went 60 yards on seven plays on the drive.
After another stalled drive by the Wildcats, the defense forced another turnover on the first play of KU's drive. Reesing was flushed out of the pocket with blanket coverage downfield by the Wildcats. Fitzgerald ran Reesing down from behind after gaining enough yardage for a first down and stripped the ball out of his hands. The fumble was recovered by John Houlik at the 24-yard line for the Wildcats. K-State could not capitalize on the turnover again with Cherry missing a 39-yard field goal wide left.
Reesing would fumble again after being flushed out of the pocket in the closing minute of the first half to give K-State another chance to put points on the board after the third turnover of the half by the Jayhawks. On the third play of the drive following the fumble recovery, Gregory would find Lamark Brown alone at the five-yard line and he scampered across the goal line to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room at halftime on the 31-yard strike.
On K-State's opening drive of the second half, the Wildcats drove 84 yards in 4:33 to put seven more points on the board with a five-yard run by Thomas to extend the lead to 17-7.
The Jayhawks' kicking woes continued in the second half with another missed field goal by Branstetter near the end of the third quarter. The Wildcats capitalized immediately with a 21-yard run by Thomas as he broke through the line and passed the secondary. He dropped the ball and recovered his own fumble halting his run with daylight in front of him.
Kansas would breathe life back into the Jayhawks' chance to win the game with a 46-yard field goal by Branstetter that just had enough leg to clear the uprights. The score cut into K-State's lead 17-10, but the drive took 7:38 off the clock giving Kansas little time to complete the comeback.
The Wildcats will return to action next Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium to take on the Missouri Tigers at 11:30 a.m., with a shot to ensure at least a tie for the Big 12 North title.
The game will be part of the Ultimate Wildcat Weekend with men's basketball Friday night at 7 p.m., football, women's basketball (5 p.m. - Bramlage Coliseum) and volleyball (7 p.m. - Ahearn Field House) on Saturday and men's basketball again on Sunday at 3 p.m. Check in on k-statesports.com for promotions and info on the Ultimate Wildcat Weekend.
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